Dog Sedatives Problems
The types of drugs used for general sedatives and sedatives that allay pain and make surgery possible for pets include those administered as a vapor, which is inhaled into the lungs, absorbed by the blood, and carried to the brain, where they temporarily deaden the sense of feeling and consciousness; those that are injected in liquid form; and those given by mouth.
Ether, chloroform, and nitrous oxide were the forerunners of modern gas anesthesia. Of the three, only nitrous oxide remains as an important agent used with newer agents to provide us with exceptionally safe anesthesia for our dogs.
Phenobarbital, perhaps too well known to lay people, is one of the oldest barbiturates from the standpoint of use. Its introduction followed that of the first barbiturate, barbital. Given in bolls tablet and liquid form, it is one of the longest-acting of this class of drugs. Barbiturates of which phenobarbital is a good example, are composed basically of urea and Masonic acid and have the following general actions:
- 1. Depressant The size of the dose determines the degree of depression.
- 2. Sedative. Results are quickly accomplished, usually within an hour.
- 3. Anticonvulsant. Occasionally almost anesthetic doses must be given to dogs convulsing severely, but they are effective even against the convulsions of strychnine poisoning. For this purpose, injectable barbiturates like pentobarbital are preferable.
- 4. Anesthetic. Phenobarbital is seldom used for this purpose. When overdoses are given, the blood pressure falls and breathing becomes slow.
Pentobarbital was for years the most frequently used general anesthetic for pets and resulted in hours of surgical-level anesthesia. The problem with it was the length of time a dog was anesthetized and the depth of anesthesia, which could not be controlled, as is possible with short-acting drugs and gas.
Pentathlon and Timmy Sodium are short-acting general sedatives and have many virtues for short procedures, such as the removal of small tumors and dental work. They are given in amounts necessary for the depth of anesthesia desired and when the procedure is completed the patient awakens over a relatively short period.
If your veterinarian is planning to use a barbiturate for an anesthetic, there are several things he or sloe should be told about your dog, if you know them. If your pet has had an increased thirst, this may suggest kidney disease. Animals with kidney diseases require much smaller amounts of barbiturates given by any route of administration. Dogs are partially poisoned by the wastes of disease in their systems. Liver is-ease and general debility also make a pet a poor subject for barbiturate anesthesia.
Animals terrified by thunderstorms, explosions from fireworks or blasting, or auto riding can safely be given small doses of pentobarbital for partial sedation and to produce a temporary loss of fear and memory. Your veterinarian can suggest a choice of medications for such problems for you to administer at some as necessary.
Alcohol is a “stimulant” that clients are forever telephoning their veterinarians to say they have just given their dogs a dose of brandy or a little whiskey. Somewhere lay people have picked up the idea that alcohol is a great dog saver. Actually, it has so few warranted uses in veterinary medicine that it is a depressant, rather than the stimulant that most people believe it to be. It stimulates neither respiration, the heartland blood systems, nor the muscles.
Alcohol irritates the skin, injures the cells, has an astringent action, and shrinks tissues; it causes irritation and inflammation of mucous membranes. When injected into tissue, it acts as an anesthetic but may permanently destroy nerve tissue. Alcohol anesthesia lasts longer than does ether or chloroform but, if given in large enough doses to anesthetize, it is too near the fatal dose for safety.
Alcohol has very little germ-killing power, and only at 70 percent by weight a percentage difficult to approximate is it worth using for this purpose.
The public has been not well educated in the use of alcohol to sterilize the skin before an injection so members of the medical profession, both human doctors and veterinarians, choose to use it rather than explain-in why it is ineffective.
Never give alcohol to “warns up” a pet. All it does is lower the body temperature by bringing the blood to the stomach and producing an affable sensation of warmth. Nor should it be given as an aphrodisiac.
Alcohol does have one important use in veterinary medicine. It is disused intravenously in the treatment of permanent antifreeze (ethylene glycol) poisoning.
Local sedatives, which can be injected to cause loss of pain in a given area, are a great boon to dogs, veterinarians, and pet owners. They may be injected over a main nerve trunk, around the area to be anesthetized for example, around a had gash that needs to be sutured or around a small tumor that requires removal. When Adrenalin(epinephrine) is combined with any of the local sedatives, the capillaries of the anesthetized area shrink and bleeding is greatly reduced. It is well to remember this if you take home a pet that has been operating on or sutured under a local anesthetic of procaine and Adrenalin. When you start for home from the vet’s there may be no bleeding, but as the effects of the Adrenalin wear off considerable bleeding may ensue, so be prepared. It is nearly always better to leave a dog that has been operated on in a hospital for twelve to twenty-four hours. Some veterinarians prefer combinations of local sedatives, and many new ones are coming along.
Several drugs are also used to deaden pain simply by allowing them to soak through tissues. These topical sedatives stop itching when they are incorporated in a salve and rubbed in, and they relieve pain when they are ingredients of ointments used in cuts, sores, or conditions such as ear canker.
In using these sedatives it is essential to keep them in contact with the tissue. If the dog persists in licking or rubbing them off, they may the replaced.
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